Washington Post | Max Bearak | Jan. 5, 2020
NAIROBI — Al-Shabab militants launched a predawn attack Sunday on an airstrip used by the U.S. and Kenyan militaries, on Kenya’s coast near the border with Somalia, killing one U.S. service member and two American private contractors, according to a U.S. military statement.
Two other American contractors were wounded and were being evacuated in stable condition, the statement said.
The attack marked a rare successful incursion by al-Shabab into a foreign military compound, let alone one outside its usual operating grounds in Somalia and one used by U.S. Special Forces and other defense personnel.
Residents and tourists in the Lamu region reported seeing a plume of smoke and hearing gunfire at 3:30 a.m. that continued until midmorning. It was unclear exactly how the attack unfolded, but pictures of the aftermath indicated that al-Shabab was able to detonate explosives where U.S. military equipment such as helicopters and other aircraft would have been stationed.